China - Country Commercial Guide

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-02-03

​Airport and Ground Support Equipment Sector

China is the world’s second largest and fastest growing civil aerospace and aviation services market. Based on 2019 data from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the value of China’s aviation industry output  was $53.3 billion. Commercial opportunities in China’s civil aerospace and aviation services markets exist in virtually every subsector. Airports and ground support equipment are currently the most promising sub-sectors for the China market given the challenges the industry faces from COVID-19.


The CAAC records show that China had 238 civil airports by the end of 2019. Annual passenger throughput exceeded 1.3 billion, an increase of 6.9% over 2018. Given that post COVID passenger travel is expected to continue growing at such a pace for many years, the CAAC has plans to construct 216 new airports , for a total of 450 by 2035. It is worth noting that while air travel declined significantly in the first half of 2020 due to COVID-19, domestic air travel has almost completely recovered and China is cautiously working toward resumption of international traffic as conditions permit.

The six busiest airports in China, as measured by passenger throughput, are in: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, and Kunming.

China’s Top 6 Busiest Airports
    China’s Top 6 Busiest Airports

Source: Airport Operation Statistics of the People’s Republic of China

Airport Design

As noted above, China plans to build more than 230 new airports while expanding many others in the next 15 years, airport design is an area with good opportunities for U.S. companies. The CAAC has identified three regions where the majority of new airports will be built or expanded:

  • Nanjing, Hangzhou, Wenzhou, Hefei, and Ningbo (Yangtze River Delta region)
  • Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhenjiang, Foshan, and Shaoguan (Pearl River Delta region)
  • Chongqing, Chengdu, and Kunming city cluster

Airport Safety Solutions

Chinese airports, focused on improving safety and security, are now frequently adopting security management systems (SeMSs). As a result, market opportunities exist for U.S. companies in security screening and detection equipment, access control systems, and airport fire and emergency equipment among others.

Green and Smart Airport Systems

China is upgrading its airports to be greener, smarter, and more sustainable. Operators are seeking strategies and solutions that allow for sustained aviation growth while also reducing costs and environmental impacts over time. Market opportunities for U.S. companies include energy conservation measures, airport heating and cooling systems, rainwater collection, efficient building materials and systems, airport systems integration, remote operations control, and big data and airport digital solutions.

Ground Support Equipment (GSE)

Given the rapid expansion of air travel, Chinese airports are making significant investments to increase the efficiency and safety of airport operations. As a result, there is growing demand for quality GSE in every aspect of aircraft and passenger/cargo servicing. Market opportunities for U.S. companies include alternative fuel vehicles, tugs and tractors, container loaders and transporters, air start units, pushbacks, belt loaders, de/anti-icing vehicles, snow removal equipment, and aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles.

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